Insight

Ireland’s property market – a worthwhile investment

07/12/2020
Ireland’s property market – a worthwhile investment

The hottest property markets for Hongkongers include London, Sydney, Vancouver, New York, Japan, Bangkok, Lisbon, and many more, but with a large number of multinational companies have established their European headquarters in Ireland (many more are planning to) and the IIP providing the opportunity for immigration to Ireland, its cities are looking increasingly attractive. And there are other benefits to be had, too.

Ireland’s property market has enjoyed steady growth over the last decade, particularly in the nation’s capital, Dublin and its surrounding commuter areas. This growth has been driven by a strong economy (see our blog on ‘Ireland’s Economy’) and high employment levels; GDP growth in 2018 was 5.6%, the second highest in Europe, and in the same year full-time employment grew 2.7%. This year, Ireland is the only developed economy to experience growth in GDP, boosted by exports from the Pharma and tech sectors, the chief economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers said.

Dublin has experienced continued international investment, particularly in the technology sector; it is home to Twitter’s EMEA headquarters and Facebook and Google’s European headquarters. Ireland also boasts a burgeoning medical technology industry, which performed particularly well in 2020, and many of its giants are based out of the capital.

In addition, a limited supply of homes in Dublin’s prime locations, coupled with a growing population that is predicted to increase by nearly a third before 2036 taking it to 1.76m, contribute to a high demand for property in the capital. In 2019, PwC ranked Dublin third out of 31 European cities for real estate investment and development in its 2019 PwC/ULI Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe report.

There is plenty, then, to attract international property investors. And with similar procedures for purchasing a property in place in Ireland as there are in the UK, where many Hongkongers have chosen to invest in property, good value and promising returns also add to the appeal.

Dublin, for example, is well priced compared to some of its European counterparts. Home prices start from €400-500,000 for a one-bedroom flat in prime residential areas, such as South Dublin, according to Mei Wong, Executive Director – Head of International Residential Sales at Knight Frank, which deals in both residential and commercial property consultancy, while family homes start from €1 million, though in super-prime areas can exceed €10 million.

Location matters and ownership

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Dublin’s most desirable areas to live in, particularly for a family home, are found in the South of the city, with Dublin 4, including Ballsbridge, Sandymount and Donnybrook, and Dublin 6, namely Ranelagh, Rathmines and Rathgar, holding greatest appeal. Each offers a range of housing options within easy reach of the city centre and is close to some of the city’s best schools including a number of those listed in The Sunday Times’ top 25 schools in Ireland in 2018. Blackrock, Monkstown, Dalkey and Killiney, also areas in south Dublin, are of growing interest thanks to their coastal locations offering attractive sea views.

Whether buyers are in search of houses or apartments, property titles are similar to those in the UK. Houses and townhouses are generally freehold, while flats, particularly new-build units, are likely to be leasehold (often 999 years). For those buying for investment, rental yields in and around Dublin are strong and have risen steadily since 2011, but vary according to the area.

Off-plan properties, which are often popular with Hongkongers, can offer attractive yields of between 4 and 6%, particularly in Greater Dublin where undersupply continues to drive growth and push up rental values. Apartments in Dublin 2, where a number of new developments are launching on the south quays, have particularly high rental yield potential, while property in more established areas of Dublin, such as Dublin 4 and Dublin 6, does not offer the same growth prospects.

Aside from Dublin, other areas worth considering include Cork, Ireland’s second most popular location for property investment; Limerick, which was named one of the Europe’s Cities of the Future in 2018/2019 by fDi Intelligence, a specialist division from The Financial Times Ltd.; and Galway, named European Capital of Culture 2020. These cities are attractive places to live, there are top schools, excellent medical facilities, and an array of lifestyle options such as golf courses, fishing and yachting.

There are a number of other elements to consider when purchasing overseas property, many of which set Ireland apart. Property taxes remain relatively low in Ireland. Stamp duty is 1% of the value of the property up to €1 million, then 2% on the balance over €1 million. Local property taxes are also modest, but vary according to location.

IIP investors will hold a Stamp 4 VISA, equivalent to a permanent residence permit, though there is currently no limit on the number of homes that can be purchased by a resident or non-resident, so prospective buyers and investors are able to purchase property at any stage of the residency process.

While most Hong Kong property buyers tend to be cash buyers, mortgages are available with an LTV of up to 70% with an interest rate of around 2.9%. Bartra works in partnership with EBS, one of Ireland’s largest financial institutions, to offer attractive and appropriate mortgages to its clients. For IIP program investors, it is worth bearing in mind that at maturity investors can expect around returns of €200,000 from a €1 million investment of Nursing Home projects, which could be put towards buying property.

Based on the resilience of property markets around the world, the global pandemic seems to have had little impact on buyers’ desires to purchase new homes. In fact, international investor enquiries have picked up as people have had time to consider new markets. And Ireland’s capital, set in an English-speaking country within the EU where residents enjoy high quality of life amidst a steadily growing economy, is a place where investors should feel confident in its potential.

If you are looking to invest in property in Ireland, watch our interview with Mei Wong, Executive Director – Head of International Residential Sales at Knight Frank, which is part of our “Immigration Insights with Bartra Wealth Advisors” video series. Mei and Jay Cheung, our Marketing Director, reveal some of Dublin’s most attractive areas for investors and considers the elements international buyers need to be aware of when contemplating property purchase in the Emerald Isle.

New launch – Glensavage, Avoca Road, Blackrock, by Bartra Homes

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Apart from IIP projects, and as a leading property developer in Ireland, Bartra Group has diverse real estate portfolios. Bartra Homes has recently launched a premium residential development project, strategically located in a prestigious and highly sought after location in South Dublin, Blackrock. Glensavage is a beautiful hidden site of 2.49 acres (0.94 hectares) off Avoca Road in Blackrock.

You can visit the project website for specification details, layouts or simply contact us.

We also work with Knight Frank for other property investment opportunities.

Data source from Knight Frank’s residential property market reports.